The Chairman of Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission Alieu Mamar Njie has dismissed claims made by Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party, who accused the commission of denying his party’s agents assigned to registration centers from recording the particulars of people, who have been issued voters’ cards, whose citizenship are questionable. Speaking to Freedom Radio Gambia on Tuesday, Mr. Njie rebuffed Mr. Darboe’s claims saying “That’s incorrect. No agent has been denied to monitor the process, to do their job. What happens is that some of them were abusing the process. No one is stopping them to write down the names of people who have been issued voters’ cards, they are free to do that, but it is wrong for them to abuse the process. Having the names of applicants is enough, keep in mind that at the end of the voter registration, the commission would publish the names and particulars of those who have been issued voters’ cards. If they have objections, they can channel it to the revising courts,” the IEC Chairman told me in a phone interview.
On Tuesday, the UDP leader Ousainanou Darboe, convened a press conference, where he accused the IEC of restricting the work of his agents stationed in some of the registration centers. According to Darboe, UDP agents have been denied recording the particulars of people issued with voters’ cards. Darboe claimed that such restrictions could undermine the fairness of the upcoming elections.
The UDP leader told the media that both the former Jawara and Jammeh governments have been allowing agents of political parties to record the particulars of voters. He noted that it would be wrong for the new administration, which often brags about restoring democracy in the country to prevent registrations agents to do their work.
Darboe has warns that in order to prevent pre and post elections violence, the IEC should ensure that the voter registration is conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
Reacting to Darboe claims, the IEC Chairman said: “There is nothing shady about our work. Our goal is to organize free, fair, and transparent elections. We stopped them because the process was being abused. They are free to take down names but not to abuse the process. Nothing has changed from our end. We are maintaining the same process as far as voter registration is concerned.”
When asked to disclose the name of the party political party, whose agents, have been accused of abusing the registration process, Chairman Njie in response said: “I am not going mention names. They know themselves. They abused the process.”